WASHINGTON (AP) — A stony-faced President Barack Obama declared that those responsible for the explosions at the Boston Marathon
"will feel the full weight of justice," but he urged a nervous nation
not to jump to conclusions. Top lawmakers declared the deadly incident
an act of terrorism, and a White House official said it was being
treated that way.
Obama, speaking from
the White House late Monday, pointedly avoided using the words "terror"
or "terrorism," saying officials "still do not know who did this or
why." However, a White House official later said the incident at the
famous race was being treated as terrorism.
"We will find out who did this. We'll find out why they did this," Obama said in his brief statement. "Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice."
Authorities say at least three people were killed and more than 140 injured during two explosions near the finish of the marathon. A senior U.S. intelligence official said two other explosive devices were found near the end of the 26.2-mile course.
president said the government would increase security around the United
States "as necessary," but he did not say whether his administration
thought the incident was part of a larger plot.
briefing with intelligence officials, Maryland Rep. C.A. Dutch
Ruppersberger, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said
most urban areas in the country would be under high alert.
want to make sure this is not a pattern," Ruppersberger said, adding
that people could expect to see greater security at public areas such as
train stations, ports and baseball games.
On Capitol Hill, Sen.
Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told reporters that she had been in contact
with U.S. intelligence agencies and it was her understanding "that it's a
terrorist incident." Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence
Committee, said the officials reported no advance warning that "there
was an attack on the way."
California Republican Rep. Ed Royce,
chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said it was a
"terrorist attack" and "yet another stark reminder that we must remain
vigilant in the face of continuing terrorist threats."
The White House said Obama
refrained from publicly calling the attacks terrorism because it was
early in the investigation and the perpetrators were unknown. But the
official said any time there is an event with multiple explosions going
off at the same time and aimed at hurting people, the administration
considers that terrorism.
The official spoke on condition of
anonymity because the investigation was still under way and the official
was not authorized to be quoted by name.
The president was
briefed on the incident Monday by several senior administration
officials, including FBI Director Robert Mueller and Homeland Security
Secretary Janet Napolitano. He also spoke with Massachusetts Gov. Deval
Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino and pledged to provide whatever
federal support was needed.
Additionally, the president spoke with
Republican and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill, saying that "on days
like this, there are no Republicans or Democrats, we are Americans
united in our concern for our fellow citizens."
The Secret Service
quickly expanded its security perimeter at the White House. The agency
shut down Pennsylvania Avenue and cordoned off the area with yellow
police tape. Several Secret Service patrol cars blocked off the entry
points to the road.
The White House was not on lockdown, and
tourists and other onlookers were still able to be in the park across
the street from the executive mansion.
The Federal Aviation
Administration created a no-fly zone over the site of the two explosions
and briefly ordered flights bound for Boston's Logan International
Airport held on the ground at airports around the country.
for outbound international flights has been increased, federal law
enforcement officials said. Numerous runners were expected to leave
Boston after the race, and the additional security was added as a
precaution, the officials said. Those officials requested anonymity
because they weren't authorized to speak publicly.
As authorities grappled to fill in the pieces of what happened, Obama
said Boston and its "tough and resilient" residents would "pull
together, take care of each other and move forward as one proud city."
In Washington Monday night, the American flag over the Capitol was flying at half-staff.
Associated Press writers Nedra Pickler, David Espo, Jim Abrams, Joan Lowy and Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.